Without Courage Strength is Nothing

By Shari Franke Period 1-2

The Effect of the Elements of Fiction

In Freak the Mighty, the characters and setting do influence the theme that without courage, strenth is nothing. As we can obviously tell in the book, the character Maxwell Kane is a big, strong kid. Yet people still call him names and make fun of him. Max hid out in his basement bedroom most of the time. Then Freak, his new neighbor, showed up, and this theme started to develop. When the two were down at the pond for fireworks, Max saw what happened when Freak stood up to Tony D. Freak scared him off. That was Max's first taste of courage. Another example is after the conflict of Killer Kane kidnapping Max. When Killer Kane was choking Loretta Lee, Max used courage to save her, without using physical strength. In the book on page 128, Max says, "I try to get between them (Killer Kane and Loretta) and I'm going, 'I saw you kill her! I saw you kill mom! I never forgot, not ever! I know you did it! I know!'" After Max said this, which I know took a lot of courage, Killer Kane released Loretta.

Development of Theme

I agree with the theme that without courage, strength is nothing. I also think that you can live without strength and still have a heartload of courage, as we see in Freak. Freak is literally 2 feet tall and is probably not very physically strong. Yet he had the courage to stand up to Killer Kane and Tony D. I think the author developed this theme ok. He gave us a look of what Max looked like without any courage and was all muscle. Then the complete definition of courage walked into Max's life. It was Freak! Here was a 2 foot tall midget, who knew he wasn't going to live a very long life, and he was still courageous. This theme is relevant to our generation today because everyone in the world focuses on and worships models and body builders and such, and yet we sometimes completely neglect the truly courageous people.

Visual Representations of Theme

Summary: Freak the Mighty by Rodman Phibrick

Freak the Mighty is mainly on the characters Freak and Max, who later become Freak the Mighty. At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Max, a hunky teenager who thinks he's stupid. Freak, a 2 foot tall smart kid, moves in and befriends Max. They go on "adventures" with Freak riding high on Max's shoulders. After Max's father who was recently released out of prison, comes and kidnaps Max, Max realizes that he can't always rely on this strength. After a heartbreaking tragedy at the end of the book, Max has to be more courageous than he ever has before.

About the Author: Rodman Philbrick


Rodman Philbrick was born in 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts. Freak the Mighty was published in 1993 by the printing company of Blue sky/Scholastic. Rodman and his wife Lynn rotate between living in Maine and the Florida Keys.